Beach Boy's 50th anniversary reunion kicks off with Sunday performance at the Grammys

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This year’s Grammy Awards promises to be fun, fun, fun as the Beach Boys kick off their 50th anniversary reunion tour. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will perform on Sunday, and are also expected to join Maroon 5 and Foster the People on stage.

A set list for this special reunion date is still unconfirmed. Surviving Beach Boys Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks have not shared the stage in more than two decades. The group will also record a new studio album, and oversee commemorative catalog releases with Capitol/EMI. A 50-date international tour is set to begin in April, as well, highlighted by a headlining performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

“This anniversary is special to me,” Brian Wilson has said, “because I miss the boys and it will be a thrill for me to make a new record and be on stage with them again.”

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and recipients of the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, the Beach Boys have already recorded several songs for their new album, to be released in 2012 by Capitol/EMI, with more tracks to be follow before its completion. The as-yet-untitled album, the first to feature all of the band’s surviving original members in decades, is being produced by Brian Wilson and executive produced by Mike Love.

As for the reissues, the Beach Boys and Capitol/EMI teamed up for a 50th anniversary campaign spotlighting the band’s entire catalog, with several new commemorative releases planned for 2012, including a new hits collection and a career-spanning box set.

The Grammy Awards ceremony, broadcast live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, begins at 8 p.m. Eastern Sunday on CBS.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Beach Boys. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

THE BEACH BOYS – THE SMILE SESSIONS (2011): Wilson’s long-awaited mythical masterpiece was issued in expanded form as The SMiLE Sessions, nearly 45 years after its conception. Be warned, though: While the original album has been referred to as the Beach Boys’ Holy Grail, this massive collection of studio recordings will probably be more well received by musicians and the serious music fan. Novice passersby need not apply. That said, despite the newly recorded version of this project released by Wilson in 2004, no one could have expected what depth and quality Sessions would bring to the table.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: THE BEACH BOYS: As the Beach Boys prepared to celebrate their 50th anniversary with the 2011 release of The SMiLE Sessions, an updated version of the 1968 track “Do It Again” and a proposed world tour, we took a look back at some fun, fun, fun old favorites — including tracks from Surfer Girl, Pet Sounds, Holland, Smiley Smile and Sunflower.

BRIAN WILSON – MIDNIGHT’S ANOTHER DAY (One Track Mind, 2008): While completing his own version of SMiLE in 2004, Wilson at long last regained his foothold on feel-good popcraft, a sturdy piece of ground he’d largely conquered by the mid-1960s. Unfortunately, Wilson doesn’t advance that notion over the balance of The Lucky Old Sun, so much as confirm that SMiLE was his own personal vista. Sun is, really, a grand-sounding yet somehow empty album — from the staid “Forever She’ll Be My Surfer Girl” to the outdated linking narratives by SMiLE co-writer Van Dyke Parks. Still, “Midnight’s Another Day,” with its gospel-tinged piano signature, can’t be denied. It’s a direct link between “In My Room” and the modern-day Wilson.

THE SOUND OF SUMMER: CELEBRATING THE BEACH BOYS’ LASTING JOYS: Think Beach Boys, and many remember a group perhaps irrevocably reduced by its tragicomic storyline. Admittedly distracting plot points, beyond the 36 Top 40 hits (most of any U.S. rock band), include shocking revelations involving drugs and mental breakdowns, one never-finished Musical Statement, a slow decline into moldy oldies caricature, several different touring ensembles trying to lay claim to the franchise, various resulting suits and countersuits, and a remarkable moment of jackassery at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fifty years later, too, there is the unironic visage of old men still playing the part of fun shirt-wearing purveyors of a long-gone California surfer lifestyle. Forget all of that. They remain, at least on the 1960s records, the very sound of summer.

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
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